Integrating climate change adaptation into Dutch local policies and the role of contextual factors.

Maya Marieke van den Berg, Franciscus H.J.M. Coenen

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Moving towards a more sustainable adaptation process requires closer integration of policies related to the environment. An important actor in this is the local government. This paper examines to what extend adaptation is currently being integrated into Dutch local policies, and what the role is of a municipality's size, risk and experience in the encountered manifestations of adaptation. First, it was determined that adaptations taking place only anticipate currently perceivable weather extremes – mostly increasing precipitation. Second, it was determined that the realisation of further adaptations is hindered by a strongly sectoral divided reality. Adaptation is now heavily dominated by the water department, while spatial planning and the environment are only limitedly involved. Finally, it was observed that the contextual factor size proved to most important for horizontal policy integration, whereas the contextual factor extreme-weather experience was the most definite for the realisation of adaptations. We conclude that a more sustainable adaptation should first tackle the sectoral divides which requires administrative efforts, for example, professional training. These would preferably be initiated from a vertical direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-460
JournalLocal environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-80551
  • METIS-286954


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